Red Devils perform for Ben
BYRON BAY rugby league captain-coach Simon Kelly believes his club can deal with the grief surrounding the shocking loss of team-mate Ben Donohoe as it pushes towards the Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League finals.
The 20-year-old died just hours before the Red Devils played Marist Brothers on Sunday and Kelly knew the shocking news would have a huge effect on his men.
“It was going to send us one way or another; we were going to towel them up or get towelled,” Kelly said.
“But I could see it in the boys’ eyes; they were so hurt but so keen to perform for Ben.”
The inspirational skipper made it the mission of his team to win for their lost comrade, some of whose family and friends were at the game.
“So many people were hurting and they came to the game, so that was our way of giving something to them,” he said.
“We won for Donny.”
The club mourned as a group on Sunday evening but Kelly said the news started to sink in only when they returned to work yesterday.
“Once you were away from everyone it felt terrible,” he said.
“You just wanted to be back with everyone at the club – back with the blokes who were feeling the same way you were.”
While the news made football seem insignificant – as Brothers coach David Krause remarked after the game – the Red Devils have a game against the Cougars at Casino this weekend before hosting Grafton Ghosts in the following round.
“This can galvanise us as a team; hopefully we can use it to push on,” he said.
“Benny was such a great kid, so close to so many people and a massive loss for the club – we are all hurting.
“They always take the good ones.”